Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ryan on Letterman

The ever-talented and prolific Ryan Adams is back this week with a new studio disc; "Cardinology". While I didn't like it much at first, it is sounding better to me with each listen. I think I was taken aback by the concise, focused songwriting on the disc(something I'm not used to with Ryan).

It may be his most accessible and consistent release yet. Say what you will about the guy, you never know what kind of material you will get from album to album. And that is a trait I find in most of my favorite artists.

Here is Ryan and The Cardinals rocking on David Letterman last night. These are great versions of the new tracks "Fix It" and "Cobwebs". Dig the Iron Maiden t-shirt!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Jesus Etc.

One of my favorite songs of the last decade is certainly Wilco's "Jesus Etc". The song is not only beautiful, but really fun to play (thanks Al).

At last weekend's Bridge School festival in California, it was not only played by Wilco but also a fantastic version was performed by Norah Jones. Jeff Tweedy had to be a very proud songwriter that night.

A great quality video is below as well as Wilco playing it from back in August.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Halloween from Larry David

This is a holiday classic scene from Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

R.I.P.-Merl Saunders

That big jam session in the sky keeps getting better and better every day.

Keyboardist Merl Saunders died yesterday after complications from a stroke. He had played with the likes of Miles Davis and was a longtime friend and collaborator to Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead.

In fact, after Garcia almost died from his diabetic coma in 1986, it was his friend Merl Saunders who stayed by his side and helped Jerry learn to play the guitar again. Jerry and Merl played together in a variety of forms from the early 70's through the late 80's. Luckily (like all things involving Garcia), most of those collaborations were recorded. Make sure you check out Merl's classic 1990 instrumental album "Blues from the Rainforest".

I'm sure him and Jerry and jamming again right now and the thought of that just puts a huge smile on my face....

Click below to listen to some great Saunders/Garcia moments.

Merl Saunders and Jerry Garcia-Berkley, CA 1973 Mix

Merl Saunders (with guest Jerry Garcia)-Blues From the Rainforest

Grateful Dead with Merl Saunders-The Twilight Zone (TV Series) Soundtrack

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


With less than two weeks to go in the American presidential election, I think I speak for most Americans when I say; "THANK GOD".

My friends (sorry), I have had all I can take of talking heads on radio and TV discussing polls, Alaska, recessions, bail outs, golden parachutes, plumbers named Joe, real America, being tested, abortions, faith or lack of it, domestic terrorists, hockey moms, pigs with lipstick, preconditions, robocalls, gaffes, game-changers, and saying words that end in "ing" without using the fucking G!

Oh yeah, so what's up with the picture above? Well, regular readers to this page know that I will be voting for Barack Obama for about 1,000,000 reasons. Living in the middle of Wisconsin, I am subjected to seeing maybe 25 McCain/Palin signs on my way to and from work every day. I see a total of 2 Obama signs; one of which is mine. It is easy for me to get discouraged and really start believing that Obama will not win.

Then halfway to my office each day, I pass this abandoned old schoolhouse which sits in the middle of freaking nowhere. As you can see, someone painted "Obama '08" on the falling down white fence. Every time I pass this I am filled with an overwhelming feeling of hope. Hope that this country can be a better place to live and raise my family then the current cesspool it is now . Hope that a black man with a more positive vision of what this country can be will actually be elected president. Hope that we can indeed work together for a positive change. I have no idea how this will turn out, but something about Obama just feels so right at this point in history. I feel that this may be our last chance. It just feels SO important. And the only thing that makes me feel hopeful on a daily basis is this little school located in the nowhere town of Vinland, Wisconsin where at least one other person obviously feels that hope too.

Anyway, to keep this page on task musically, below you will find a election mix I put together to get me through these crazy days. I hope you enjoy the music no matter what side of the political fence you are on. May we grind through these last two weeks and come out a stronger and more hopeful nation. Peace.

1. Bob Dylan-When the Ship Comes In
2. Grateful Dead-Throwing Stones
3. The Who-Let's See Action
4. Sham 69-If the Kids are United
5. Son Volt-Joe Citizen Blues
6. Bruce Springsteen-The Rising
7. Neil Young-Campaigner
8. Patti Smith-People Have the Power
9. Jefferson Airplane-We Can Be Together
10. Tom Waits-Step Right Up
11. John Lennon-Gimme Some Truth
12. Stevie Wonder-Higher Ground
13. Bob Dylan-The Times they are A-Changin'

Friday, October 17, 2008

R.I.P.-Levi Stubbs

One of the greatest voices in music has died today; Levi Stubbs.

I grew up listening to the Four Tops (Thanks Mom!) and his voice is forever ingrained in my consciousness. His voice was joyful, powerful, and most of all; passionate. He sang some of the greatest songs of all time and the history of popular music would not have been the same without him.

At least the music always lives on...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Real Dylan & Summer '08 Mix

In honer of the ridiculously good new Bob Dylan Bootleg Series release "Tell Tale Signs", Uncut magazine has published a 13 part feature focusing on the recording sessions that make up the material featured on the discs. Specifically, Dylan's output from 1989-2006.

Told by the producers and engineers who worked on the recordings, the result offers a fascinating incite into Bob's recording process. This is must-read stuff for Dylan freaks and proof that while I love the guy, I don't think I would want to work with him.

Read all the goodness below:

My other Dylan gift to you today is a great mix of tunes from Bob's summer tour of Europe. It contains one of the best versions of "Just Like a Woman" I've ever heard. Hearing that song sung with the years of knowledge in Dylan's voice now just kills me. This set also contains some great versions of many of the Modern Times tracks. I think I like these songs even better life than the studio versions.

I really can't wait to see him in Milwaukee on November 6. I hope you enjoy listening to this set.

Bob Dylan: Summer 2008 Mix

Side A

Side B

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Jawhawks Triumphant Return!

On September 6 at a festival in Spain, the five original members of The Jayhawks played their first show together since the mid-90's. As much as I love the Gary Louris-led version of the band, they do not sound the same with the unmistakable harmonies of Mark Olson.
Since no announcement of an official Jayhawks reunion had occured, I can not tell you what a pleasent surprise it was to find out that this show took place. Mark and Gary are releasing an album together in January so I can only assume we have not heard the last of this incarnation of The Jayhawks.

Click the link below to download the show and a big thanks to the taper! The sound is less than stellar, but it works for me. Enjoy.


The Jayhawks: Azkena Festival Spain.
September 6, 2008

Mark Olson-Acoustic Guitar/Vocals
Gary Louris-Electric Guitar/Vocals
Marc Perlman-Bass
Tim O'Reagan-Drums/Vocals
Karen Grotberg-Keyboards/Vocals

Aud recording.
Sony Hi-Md MZ-RH910>Mics: Sony Stereo-ECM-719>soundforge 8>cd wav editor>
flacfrontend level 6>you
Recorded by Zebulon.
Edited By J.P.

I´d Run Away
Over My Shoulder
Real Light
Two Angels
Take Me With You
Martin´s Song
Waiting For The Sun
Two Hearts & Settle Down Like Rain
Sister Cry
See Him On The Street
Nothing Left To Borrow
Pray For Me
Leave No Gold
Bad Time
Miss Williams´Guitar

Friday, October 10, 2008

Playin' in the Band

Happy Friday everyone. I thought I would give you a fantastic Dead show to get your weekend started right and musical.

This one is a particularly hot show from 8-5-1989 and is one of the best soundboard recordings I have of them. Highlights include a rare first set opening "One More Saturday Night", a rocking "Let it Grow", and the entire second set.

This one of those shows I would play someone who was first getting into the Dead. It has all the elements that made me love their music and keeps me coming back. Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Grateful Dead: 8-5-1989 Carlson, CA

Set 1:One More Saturday Night, Cold Rain & Snow, We Can Run But We Can't Hide, Stagger Lee, Memphis Blues, Row Jimmy, Let It Grow

Set 2:Hey Pocky Way, Playin' In The Band-> I Know You Rider-> Terrapin Station-> Drums-> Jam-> Standing On the Moon-> Throwing Stones-> Not Fade Away, E: U.S. Blues

Report: 60 Million People You'd Never Talk To Voting For Other Guy

From the always hilarious Onion website, this article pretty much puts the state of American politics in perspective. This is my favorite thing I've read this week and makes way more sense then most mainstream news articles about what's going on.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Taxi to the Dark Side

I try to keep this blog light and full of music and entertainment. But sometimes things I feel, hear, or see are too serious to ignore.

Sometimes you watch a film for entertainment. Sometimes you watch a film to inform. Tonight I watched a film that may very well have changed the way I will view my country forever. That film is Alex Gibney's 2007 Oscar winner for Best Documentary Film, "Taxi to the Dark Side". The film chronicles how post-September 11, 2001 the Bush administration blurred/rewrote the rules of the Geneva Convention that define our use of torture on "wartime" detainees.

The film starts by telling the story of a innocent detainee (named Dilawar) who was killed in US custody by "blunt force" which was subsequently covered up by the military. The movie then begins to go into the entire story of how a small group of right-wing neocons (Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzalez, George W.Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, David Addington, and John Woo) using the victims as 9/11 as bait, redefined what torture is and forever tarnished our moral standing in the world. Not only did their actions tarnish the principals of what the United States was founded on, but I fear has forever diminished our moral standing in the world. I still cannot believe what I have seen and cannot believe we have allowed it to happen. Bush, Rumsfeld, and Cheney are the war criminals that should be in Guantanamo Bay right now, not the huge percentage of innocent civilians that are there now (indefinitely) as some sort of political theater.

If this all sounds too heavy; it is. But it should be required viewing for all Americans so we can know how far we have fallen before it is forever too late to ever stand tall again.

The film is airing this month on HBO but can be watched in it's entirety below.

Taxi to the Dark Side

Sunday, October 5, 2008

What's Old is New.....

So 2008 has been a pretty good year for music and I can't wait to do a list of my favorites at the end of this year. That will be a tough list to make since just in the past month, I have heard 4 serious contenders for Top 10 albums of the year. And you know what? None of them are from any cool, new bands.

There are a million blogs writing about great new releases by the likes of Jenny Lewis and TV on the Radio. I wanted to feature these 4 discs because they are all major surprises to me. I had written all these artists off for making any compelling new material a long time ago.

Make sure to try and give these all a spin or two. Your 2008 will be better for it....

Here is a playlist of my favorite song from each album:

David Byrne and Brian Eno-Everything That Happens Will Happen Today

In 1981, David Byrne and Brian Eno released the seminal, genre-hopping musical collage "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts". 27 years later, these two musical geniuses have release what may be my favorite disc of 2008.

I don't throw out the term "musical genius" often, but Byrne and Eno both deserve it on their own merits. Eno practically invented alternative music with his early 70's solo discs (Another Green World, Here Come the Warm Jets, and Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy) while David Byrne (with the Talking Heads) released 5 of the greatest albums of the 70's and 80's (three of which Brian Eno produced).

This new disc comes as a total surprise even for a fan like me. While their 1981 disc was abstract to a fault, "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today" is a clear, concise bit of modern alternative-pop that these two guys could create. The songs shimmer in their effortless beauty and the lyrics are some of the best of Byrne's career. Described perfectly by both artists as "electronic Gospel" music, this is music that sooths the soul and makes you think. In today's fast-food culture, that is a thing to cherish.

This disc is currently only available for purchase and is streaming on the artists' website, but will be in stores later this year. In the meantime, you can listen to it all you like below:

Jackson Browne-Time the Conqueror

One of my favorite artists is back after six years with a stellar collection of songs that look at the world and question the path we are on. Jackson has always brought political activism to his music, but has tended to be a bit overwrought when merging those politics to his music. On "Time the Conqueror", he successfully melds the two together on stellar tracks like "Drums of War" and the spot-on Katrina finger pointer "Where Were You?".

Browne has always been one of the best songwriters to describe the human condition. The feelings we all have but don't know how to express. Luckily, Jackson has not lost that gift and if anything, his years have given him a better perspective and understanding on what's really important. The highlight of the disc is the introspective "Giving That Heaven Away", in which he asks if all the ideals of the baby- boomer generation were all in vain. The answer of course is that as long as the beliefs are still felt and shared to and by others, the dream will never die.

It's simply a joy to hear new Jackson Browne music, and after all these years "Time the Conqueror" is as vital and necessary as anything in his catalog.

Lindsey Buckingham-Gift of Screws

After Lindsey's downbeat and uneven 2006 release "Under the Skin", I am thrilled to say that Lindsey Buckingham is back with a stellar collection of tunes. Like "Under the Skin", many of these songs were written a long time ago but never had a home until now. I have always thought Lindsey Buckingham is one of the oddest and most underrated songwriters out there. He often gets tagged with the "70's soft-rock" label, but this guy writes some of the most innovative and strangest material this side of Animal Collective.

Helped on several tracks by Fleetwood Mac rhythm section John McVie and Mike Fleetwood, this disc is by far the most focused and my favorite of Lindsey's solo efforts. Packed with great vocals, and the amazing guitar work that Buckingham is known for, one can only hope this late career burst of creativity lasts for a while.

Metallica-Death Magnetic

Metallica you ask?? Fuck yeah I say!

Living with a metal-head for 3 years in college, I was exposed on a daily basic to their music. I knew every lyric, every drum fill, every guitar solo, and every evil head-banging moment of their material.

And you know what? I would put their first 4 studio releases up there with the best rock and roll CD's of all time. Then came the "Black Album" in 1991 when they became HUGE. Like, Michael Jackson huge. Then they lost focus releasing shitty albums and playing with symphony orchestras. I never thought I would want to hear a note of their stuff again. That was until I read about this new Rick Rubin produced disc. I read it was a return to form with the intricate, longer epic songs that they were known for.

Well, "Death Metallic" is not just a return to form, but ranks up there with the masterpieces of "Master of Puppets" or "And Justice for All". This thing is harder and louder than anything they have ever done and there is not one hint of them trying to imitate years gone by. It is quite simply the hardest and best rock and roll album I have heard since the last Nirvana disc and its restored my faith in the power and fun of hard rock.

Bravo Metallica! I didn't think you still had it in you.

One more Year, Another Broken Heart


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Clip of the Day

Watch what may be the most explosive 5 minutes in the history of Rock and Roll. This is The Who performing "Young Man Blues" at the Isle of White Festival in 1970.

I know, you're thinking "I've heard that freaking song 1,000,000 times". But watch the otherworldly drumming of Keith Moon, the ridiculous bass playing of John Entwistle, the fire in Townshend's guitar playing, and the best front man of all time in Roger Daultry. This is as punk rock as anything that came after it and NO ONE played live as good as The Who.

Turn it WAY up!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Great Schlep!

The always hilarious Sarah Silverman now wants you to get involved in the electoral process. There's only one catch; it's for Jews only.....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Phish is Back!!!

I think we all knew it was inevitable, but Phish are coming back. This was posted up on the band's site today with a short announcement found here. I was a huge fan back in the 90's and while I rarely listen to them anymore, I am thrilled they are back.

Phish is the classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of it's parts. Take the four guys apart, and you have 4 great musicians. Put them together and you have something truly special that no other band can equal.

Click on the link below to hear for yourself why I loved them so much. Welcome back guys!!

Phish: 12/31/1993